Updated on February 15, 2017
It feels like yesterday when I had my first FOSDEM, Yet more than 3 years passed and my 4th edition of FOSDEM is behind me as well. Throughout all 4 years I have been part of the Mozilla presence, regardless if as a Mozilla Rep, l10n contributor or Tech Speaker. I can only appreciate the great moments we shared with fellow attendees at FOSDEM. It has been a rollercoaster of emotions, sobriety, hangoverness and swag every year, and this year has been no different.
Unlike the other years, 10 people from our local Open Labs Hackerspace attended FOSDEM 2017. That’s 10 Albanians too much already.
As part of the Open Source Design collective, I have been helping out with the organization of the Open Source Design (dev)room this year at FOSDEM. I was happy to give a talk about Mozilla Open Design and the new branding of Mozilla introduced just a few weeks ago.
The lovely Tech Speakers present at #mozdem. We’re going to be around #fosdem tomorrow, ask us anything about @mozilla pic.twitter.com/2Cpk3pjxiS
— Mozilla TechSpeakers (@mozTechSpeakers) February 4, 2017
@elioqoshi explaining the open process behind the new #Mozilla visual identity in the open source design room. #Mozdem #Fosdem #fullHouse pic.twitter.com/Ub0N17JM8K
— Redon Skikuli (@rskikuli) February 5, 2017
.@KristiProgri talking about #Diversity in #OpenSource and her experiences at @outreachy at #FOSDEM #mozdem pic.twitter.com/ETizeghS5a
— Elio Qoshi (@elioqoshi) February 4, 2017
In the past year, I have been trying to not break my routine too much while traveling. Conferences are great and inspiring but it can be pretty demanding to fully emerge yourself into the conference experience if you travel frequently. As a part-time introvert, I tend to relax in my hotel for quite a few hours, at least every 2 days, something which has worked for me quite well in the past. Not at FOSDEM however.
#Mozdem info booth team at #Fosdem. Join us at building K 🙂 pic.twitter.com/A4i6cmeR9v
— Redon Skikuli (@rskikuli) February 4, 2017
There are way too many people you want to catch up with and way too much going on as well. With FOSDEM fringe there is also a great number of events which happen before and after FOSDEM, due to so many different projects already having presence during that week, making it easier to meet in person. I failed to meet with several people I wanted to catch up with, but it’s kind of expected at such a large event as FOSDEM.
During peak times, it was reported that 18000 devices were connected to the WiFi network. It’s a good estimate of the number of attendees at the event. Crazy indeed. The proportions of FOSDEM are immense.
There is a Survival Guide by Paul Adams I highly recommend however. If you think of attending FOSDEM next year, be prepared. It’s pretty demanding physically and emotionally, especially if you can’t get used to the feeling of “missing out”. Let me clarify it for you here:
You will miss out a lot of things at FOSDEM. You can not do much about it. Embrace it and you will enjoy it even more.
What I really dislike at FOSDEM is the lack of any relaxing zones and the limited selection of (junk) food. It is very demanding for your mind and body to not have proper food, hydration and sleep. Be prepared for that. If you plan to attend FOSDEM, try to stay an additional night in Brussels (or depart late on Monday) because you need the energy to refuel. If you think you are thick-skinned however, you should be doing quite fine.
The day after FOSDEM, we met with some of the key players for Free and Open Source Software in the European Parliament & Commision. We had a great time talking about our experience with our local public administrations and their status regarding Free Software. We are looking forward to continue this discussions at OSCAL’17 which happens in May.